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sexta-feira, 2 de outubro de 2009

Which are the main steps to create a start-up?

Steps to create a start-up? I should start by recomending to read my book on this very issue. However, it is written in Portuguese, which very likely isn't a language you master...
So I will give you a schematic:
1) Find an opportunity
2) Gather the resources to create a company
3) Start the company and go to the market

Easier said than done, right?

Let's start with 1)
Where the heck will I find an opportunity? What is that?
Short answer: talk to people. Talk about the things you like in life ad always look for ways to make money. Imagine business models (that is rendering products or services to the market for a price and incurring in costs) for any activity related to the things you like.
Also look for innovations being brought to the market elsewhere. What are entrepreneurs doing in other areas and how could you use that in the areas you like.
Analyse and test the opportunities you develop. Make sure you turn down the (many) ones which have no viability. Do your math on income-expenses but always look for alternativa economic models, that is, how can you monetise the business in a way completely different from what is being done.

Second phase. How do you get the resources you are going to need to create your startup: money, money, money, people, technology, installations, equipment, contacts, know-how,...
Write a business plan. Write a brochure. Create an "institutional" site. Be ready to pitch your idea at any time.
Make sure you know very well what investment it's going to be necessary and then choose the best financing alternatives (look for costs and refunding periods).
Can't get the resources you need? Tried the help of business angels? More experienced entrepreneurs? It's always better to have only a part of a good business than 100% of... nothing.
Still can't get the resources? Move forward. Maybe it's not the right time to start that business. Maybe the idea is not as good as you think. Just move forward.

Third phase. Startup.
Now you've done it. Now is the time you don't sleep, you don't eat right, you only think about your business.
Starting a business is a passion.
It's also big troubles. People don't know your brand. Why should they buy from you? Make sure you give them good reasons.
Be very, very aware of cash.
Cash-flow is king in a startup. Control every penny until you can say your company is cruising...

And be happy.

PS: have you prepared your exit strategy? Make sure you do...

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